Lemon Millet or Rice

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You need:

  • Cooked millet or rice.
  • 2-3 carrots diced
  • Some chopped shallots
  • 2 chopped green chilies
  • Some peanuts
  • A little chopped ginger.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.
  • The juice of 2 lemons.

Fry peanuts in oil using medium heat for 2-3 mins or till they are almost cooked. If you like them crispy, cook longer. Then add the shallots and green chilies. When the raw edge from the onions is gone add the carrots and turmeric. Cook on high heat till carrots are softened. Squeeze the lemons and mix it well. Season with salt. Add the millet or rice.

Garnish with sev and coriander. Serve with lemon pickle.

 

Constructing a Quick and Simple Salad

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Bring together these elements and make it a part of your lunch.

You Need:

  • Base: Shredded cabbage. Cheap and easy to use.
  • Sweetness: Pomegranate seeds. Loaded with goodness.
  • Color and Crunch: Diced Carrots.
  • Spice: Diced red onion.
  • Glue: Any mayonnaise or spread. Used here is 2 tablespoons of Spicy Harissa.
  • Freshness: Basil leaves.
  • Omega 3: Add in some toasted seeds.

That is all we need. Add the ingredients in any quantity you want.

Kantola Masala

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Kantola is also known as kekrol, kakrol, bhat karela, korola or kartoli.

You need:

  • 500 gms of Kantola.
  • 1 Large onion finely chopped.
  • 3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped.
  • A bunch of coriander leaves, finely chopped.
  • Coriander Powder about 2 teaspoons.
  • Red Chilly Powder, 1 teaspoon.
  • Turmeric and salt.

Slice the kantola in half and remove the seeds. Its easier to use a small thin spoon to remove them. Rub salt and turmeric on the kantola and keep in a colander for at least 20-30 mins. Wash off the salt and shake them dry.

Heat mustard oil. Fry some cumin and onion in the oil. When translucent add the kantola pieces. Mix well. Cook on high till whatever water was trapped in the skin of the kantola has dried. Add all the remaining ingredients and cook covered on low heat.

In about ten minutes it should be ready. Check by eating a piece. If its tender. Its done.

Adjust salt only in the end. Because the kantola was salted, there is a chance it might have carried over into the dish.

 

Masala Brinjals (Vegan)

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You need;

  • Half a kilo of Brinjals, cut into small pieces. Salted and kept aside.
  • One large onion, thinly sliced.
  • Two medium tomatoes, roughly chopped.
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger garlic paste.
  • 2 teaspoons of red chilly powder.
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala.
  • 1 tablespoon of besan flour.

Do not wash the brinjals. If you do, then pat them dry. Cut them into small pieces and sprinkle salt with a pinch of turmeric. Rub it well and keep them in a colander. A plate under the colander will prevent making a mess in the kitchen. The salt will leach out the bitterness in brinjals.

Heat oil. Once its hot add the onions so they start getting fried right away. After 3-4 mins of frying on high heat, add the ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, turmeric, red chilly powder. Mix well. Then sprinkle the besan flour. Mix well and you will notice that the dry masala is slowly getting stuck to the base of your pan.

Now wash the salted brinjals and add them to the pan. Let them cook for about 5 mins while occasionally mixing them. By now its quite possible that the masala is slowly getting stuck to the pan. Its ok. Reduce the heat. Add the tomatoes and cook covered for about 7-8 mins.

When you open the pan, there will a little moisture release by the brinjals and tomatoes. Use that to fully deglaze the pan. If cooking in a non-stick pan, use a wooden spatula.

Sprinkle some garam masala powder and serve with rotis.

 

Pumpkin Spinach Mash (Vegan)

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You Need:

  • 500 grams of grated pumpkin
  • 300 grams of blanched and chopped spinach.
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sesame oil.
  • 2 teaspoons of pepper powder.
  • 2 tablespoons of Spicy Harissa dressing.
  • Some toasted sesame seeds for garnish.

Get water boiling hot. Add spinach. Switch off the stove. Keep it covered for a min. Remove and wash spinach with cold water. Squeeze out excess water. Chop and keep aside.

Peel the pumpkin and grate it. Cook on a low heat with no oil. Now notice that the pumpkin does not smell very nice. The initial smell will not be obnoxious but it will be definitely unpleasant. As it cooks on low heat for about 10 mins or so, the smell will slowly start improving. Stir once in a while. When the smell has improved or has almost gone, add the sesame oil. As soon as it hits the hot stove and reacts with the pumpkin a remarkable change will occur. The earthy notes will be amazing and tantalize your senses. Cook on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes.

Add the spinach, pepper and the harissa dressing. I used the Veeba Spicy Harissa dressing.

Garnish with toasted seeds.

 

Watermelon Rind Sabzi!

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Watermelon is one of my favorite fruits. But we eat the juicy red part and discard the white rind. Couple of years back my friend brought a chutney made with it. It was very nice and this thought has always played in the back of my mind. Every time I slice a watermelon, I felt guilty about discarding an edible part. Finally decided to try cooking it and am very happy I did it.

You need:

  • Finely diced watermelon rind.
  • Couple of Garlic pods, roughly chopped.
  • Mustard seeds about a teaspoon.
  • Turmeric powder about half a teaspoon.
  • Red Chilly powder about 2 teaspoons but adjust according to taste.
  • Salt
  • Coriander for garnishing.

Be careful while removing and discarding the green outer skin. Its best to cut the watermelon in half and place it on a cutting board. Let the knife run downwards. If you try any other angle there is a good chance your knife will slip and cut your finger.

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Heat oil and saute the garlic and mustard. Add the red chilly powder and turmeric. Mix them well. Add the watermelon rind and cook on low heat. Use low heat and cook till it softens. Midway thru this season with salt.

Garnish with coriander. A splash of lemon juice is optional.

Goes great with rotis.

 

Tapioca Biffins

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I can’t decide if these are biscuits or muffins so I invented a new name…Biffins.

You Need:

  • Grated Tapioca about 800 gms.
  • Some fresh coconut
  • 2 teaspoons of Cumin and fennel seeds.
  • 3 Dry red chilies.
  • Whole Wheat Flour approximately 3 to 4 tablespoons.
  • Sugar as per taste.
  • Salt to season.
  • Grate the tapioca.

Powder the chilies, cumin, fennel and coconut. Add salt and sugar.

Combine the tapioca and the powdered spices. Knead together. It will be very wet. Add whole wheat flour in small batches till the moisture wetness is manageable.

Make into biscuit shapes and bake for 30 mins in a 160C oven. Don’t use butter paper as it has a tendency to stick to the paper. I made this mistake, you don’t need to.

Enjoy with any chutney or ketchup.